VOLUME 3RTips and Tricks to Handle Windowless BathroomsBy Thomas CochranResidents may experience common problems in their windowless bathrooms. The usual challenges include poor lighting, mold, mildew, dampness, smells, peeling paint and bubbling wallpaper. Excess moisture and poor ventilation are the main causes of these issues, the results of which can lead to health issues and costly repairs. Use these tips and tricks to resolve them all.

Lighting for AccuracyClothing retailers often end up with returns due to poor lighting in their stores. People simply do not know what they really look like until they step outside and get a better view of their appearance. The reason for this is because of the Color Rendering Index (CRI) of light. CRI measures how well a light bulb or natural light can illuminate the full spectrum of colors. Natural light does a better job of this than artificial lighting, which is why clothes look better (or worse) outside than they do inside the store.

The same is true in windowless bathrooms. The light bulbs that were already in the rentals can determine how polished the bathroom looks and how well that mirror reflection is too. If a windowless bathroom has poor lighting, then choose white light bulbs with a CFI of 90 to 100. This rating means that the light emitted by the light bulb is similar to that of natural light, which will help colors look their best when the lights are on.

Ventilation To Fight Against Mold and MildewIf excess moisture is allowed to build up and linger in a windowless bathroom, it can cause mold and mildew to form. Off-putting smells often plague windowless bathrooms with poor ventilation. The good news is that a vent fan can be installed in any bathroom to decrease moisture and improve air quality. Before a prospective tenant moves in, inquire with a Realtor about whether a landlord would be willing to get this installed—or allow the tenant to do so with a potential discount on the first month’s rent.

There are a wide range of bathroom vent fans to choose from, but they all need to be turned on and left on long enough to do their job. Tenants should leave vent fans on for at least 15 minutes after a shower to properly remove moisture from the room.

If mold or mildew is forming in a windowless bathroom because there is no vent or because the vent fan isn’t used properly, a vent fan with a humidity sensor may be a better idea. These fans will automatically turn on and off when an unacceptable amount of moisture in the air is recognized by the sensor.

Avoid Peeling Paint and WallpaperAnother way to prevent mildew from forming in a windowless bathroom is by using mildew-resistant paint on the walls. Improving the ventilation should do most of the work to prevent mildew, but using this type of paint will add another level of protection. As with the vent, ask the landlord before move-in if this is an option.

Wallpaper can also be used in a windowless bathroom—with a caveat: wallpaper and humidity do not mix. But if moisture is properly managed, then wallpaper should work well. Tenants can even experiment with different wallpaper samples to see how well they hold up before committing to wallpapering the entire room. (If the landlord has strict rules about permanent wallpaper, use tempaper. It can easily be peeled off when a tenant moves out.)

The Perks of PlantsIf permanent installations are out of the question in this rental, for green thumb tenants, this is the best time to buy plants. Invest in an artificial grow light for low-light plants (i.e., dracaenas, ferns, snake and spider plants) and allow them to be natural air filters. Not only can they get rid of lingering smells in windowless bathrooms, but they also release oxygen into the air.

These tips above should be helpful in improving lighting, avoiding ventilation risks related to mold and mildew, and assisting with interior design upgrades. Hopefully, this will make the space brighter and more inviting.